Is Tail Docking Cosmetic or NOT?

You be the Judge!

Tail docking has been a hot topic of discussion for many years. Breeders in Australia are now faced with varying legislation in each State of Australia regarding tail docking of puppies. It is important to stress that Northern Territory and Western Australia still allows for tail docking under the present legislation and all owners, breeders and interested groups who wish to continue the fight against this ridiculous legislation should continue to lobby politicians. It is not a done deal by no means, however if care is not exercised Northern Territory and Western Australian could fall victim as did the other States.

A nation wide ban was planned for April 2004! [UPDATE: Legislation did go through as was planned.] This however is NOT a national ban as the R.S.P.C.A., A.V.A. and Animals Australian would have you believe. It is a State by State restriction with big differences between each State. For example, with the help of the Liberal members, and One Nation member David Oldfield, NSW was able to secure a review of the legislation. Sadly the NSW government has been avoiding this review and still continues to do so. It is also worth noting that  in NSW the Liberals have said if they get in at next State election, they will overturn the legislation. What needs to happen is collective support from all concerned dog people to unit and help NSW  to have that legislation quashed or at the very least amended to allow Accredited Dockers, much like Accredited Micro Chippers perform micro chipping. Even banding of the tails by veterinarians.

Read the latest news regarding tail docking in Victoria here.

The general public is unaware of the campaign that has been waged against the purebred dog world's practice of maintaining traditionally docked dogs. This campaign has been waged under the auspices of being unnecessary, by deeming it an act for cosmetic reasons only and it started many years ago.

Some of the key opposition to tail docking comes from such bodies as the RSPCA., who even launched a campaign against tail docking. Please note that this is a registered charity, and is using public donations to support its "causes". Yet they fail to address the very real issue of protecting those animals in real need of their help. Incident #1 is one example of this very failure and Incident #2 is not much better.

Another key player is the AVA (Australian Veterinary Association). Please note that not all vets are members of the AVA, and there is a very strong movement overseas with vets supporting tail docking in some countries i.e. UK. The A.V.A. October 1996 Journal gives better insight behind the motivation for A.V.A. to become one of the key players. Read the full article You can find the news article on the A.V.A. website located under the heading of Take Care with Tails and Dew Claws. Click on the heading to read the full article. If you have difficulties reaching that page, or finding the article on the page, click here.

Animal Liberationist groups and some political parties (i.e. Greens) are very much against companion animals and to this end have been lobbying politicians. Are you aware that the Greens also used a platform of banning all caged birds in the last NSW State election? Bye bye budgie!

Please note that the National Party and Liberal Party have been supportive of breeder's rights to choose whether or not to tail dock, unlike the Labor Party, who, in the main, have largely ignored the major stockholders, i.e. dog breeders.

Tail docking has always been a responsible preventative measure in breeds which are at a risk of tail damage. Tail docking is akin to immunization for dogs!

This is not cruel.

This is not cosmetic.

This is being responsible.

Take a read of the facts about tail docking by Prof. Dr R. Fritsch, Leader of Clinic of Veterinary Surgeons, Justus-Lieberg University, to the German Kennel Club.

There are good sound reasons why each docked breed is docked. Docking is a safeguard against future injuries in the hunting and working breeds, for health reasons in breeds such as the Old English Sheepdog. Tail docking has nothing, absolutely nothings to do with dog shows or judging of dog shows. Tail docking is quite simply done because of traditional reasons for which a particular breed was developed and as breeders and owners we have been entrusted to uphold this tradition.

When the forefathers of the Weimaraner were developing this breed I am sure they did not say to themselves "Oh I must have a cosmetically beautiful hunting dog, people are looking." I am, how ever, certain that they did think of the dog and its welfare when deciding it was best to dock the tail.

There are 57 breeds of registered dogs that will be affected if reputable breeders are not allowed to continue to practice this method of animal husbandry that has been around for centuries. That is approx. 1/3 of all the registered breeds.

Have you heard of the next item on the anti-companion animals agenda? Its called BSL or Breed Specific Legislation and it is off and running fast in all States of Australia, Queensland being the most aggressive about BSL.

Is your dog under 7 inches tall, a Dachshund maybe? Or maybe your dog is over 14 inches tall? Perhaps a German Shepherd?

Does your breed have a pushed in face. Is it a Pug or Boxer?

Does your breed have "bull" in its name, like Staffordshire Bull Terrier or Bull Terrier?

Does your breed have the merle gene? Is your dog a Collie?

Well you may not have that dog for much longer. Some one, without consultation with the stockholders, will decide you should not have these dogs.

The sad sad thing in all this is that the real cruelty, the real issues, are not addressed.

Here are two examples in which I was directly involved.

Incident #1

  • a Sunday in January
  • 42º C in the shade
  • a car with two dogs parked in full sun, windows closed
  • 5 announcements made by the management of the shopping centre pleading for the owner to return to the car because the dogs were extremely distressed

After the 5th announcement, I called the centre management office to get an update, to be told that the owners are not responding and the security guard is at the car waiting for the owners.

I called the Pearcedale Animal Shelter, because RSPCA were not answering the phone [rang out], to seek their help. I was told this was a matter for the RSPCA. I called the Cranbourne Police Station to be told they knew about the dogs but could not attend because they had an emergency [of the human kind] to attend. I called the RSPCA again and got through to be told they only had one vehicle and one ranger who were the other side of Melbourne and told to call the local Police Station. I called Cranbourne Police Station again to ask what I could do? The way the law is, if you break into someone else's car, you are liable to be taken to court for breaking and entering and pay for any damages in the process of breaking into the car.

Fate unknown.

A question to the RSPCA:

How come you have money to spend on campaigning to have tail docking banned but you do not have money to spend on adding more vehicles and rangers to the organisation?

Clearly Dr. Hugh Wirth (RSPCA President) has decided NOT to follow the RSPCA Charter but rather lead the RSPCA into being a lobbyist organisation.


Incident #2

  • September
  • Melbourne Royal time
  • location Diggers Rest
  • across the road from where we were staying, a house with a dog tied up

Upon walking my dogs I noticed the dog was a puppy. An older puppy, but a puppy never the less.

I noticed it had a milk crate for shelter.

I noticed there was no water in a dirty, dusty and dry water bowl, I noticed no signs of humans.

I noticed the collar was a correction collar, incorrectly referred to as a choker chain. Though on this occasion it was exactly that. Clearly it was placed on this puppy while he was very young and never removed, for it had gotten so tight around his neck that not a single finger could be placed between the correction collar and the pups neck.

I noticed this puppy was very thin.

I called the RSPCA, clearly this was a case which need to be investigated, at the very least.

Fate unknown.

Do I really need to tell you what the answer was!


And how about . . .

The imported fur trade which saw retailers in Sydney selling fur coats and jacket made from dog and cat fur. This made a brief appearance on TV and nothing more.

Surely it deserves more!

Surely it needs more!

What is the RSPCA doing about this?

What is your plan to ban this true cruelty? To once and for all put a stop to it!

This kind of cruelty is the stuff that makes you want to throw up.

This kind of cruelty is the stuff that makes me want to be anything but human. For I do not wish to be associated with a species of animal that is capable of such unspeakable cruelty.

Perhaps more accountability and reporting on how the RSPCA sends its money, would give the RSPCA a little more motivation to tackle the real cruelty.

Dare I suggest an inquiry into how the public money is spent! Hey and don't forget the Federal government also gives money to the RSPCA. High time Senator Abetz stopped just considering measures to increase accountability of the RSPCA but actually made it happen. The Government's money (which of course is my money that I seriously would not give, loan or donate to the RSPCA) is simply wasted of drummed up, so called cruelty matters . . . BLAH BLAH BLAH. Go for it Senator Abetz!